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baqqa mqarqra
A Frog's-eye view

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Saturday, November 09, 2002
 
BAD SIR BRIAN BOTANY

Following my posting the other day about Arafat's incredibly exaggerated self-esteem considering his person history, I chanced upon this marvellous poem by A.A.Milne, which so reminds me of Arafat:

Bad Sir Brian Botany


Sir Brian had a battleaxe with great big knobs on;
He went among the villagers and bopped them on the head.
On Wednesday and Saturday, but mostly on the latter day,
He called at all the cottages, and this is what he said:

"I am Sir Brian!" (ting-ling)
"I am Sir Brian!" (rat-tat)
"I am Sir Brian, as bold as lion -
Take that! - and that! - and that!"


Sir Brian had a pair of boots with great big spurs on,
A fighting pair of which he was particularly fond.
On Tuesday and on Friday, just to make the street look tidy,
He'd collect the passing villagers and kick them in the pond.

"I am Sir Brian!" (sper-lash!)
"I am Sir Brian!" (sper-losh!)
"I am Sir Brian, as bold as lion -
Is anyone else for a was?"


Sir Brian woke one morning, and he couldn't find his battleaxe;
He walked into the village in his second pair of boots.
He had gone a hundred paces, when the street was full of faces,
And the villagers were round him with ironical salutes.

"You are Sir Brian? Indeed!
You are Sir Brian? Dear, dear!
You are Sir Brian, as bold as a lion?
Delighted to meet you here!"


Sir Brian went on a journey, and he found a lot of duckweed:
They pulled him out and dried him, and they blipped him on the head.
They took him by the breeches, and they hurled him into ditches,
And they pushed him under waterfalls and this is what they said:

"You are Sir Brian - don't laugh,
You are Sir Brian - don't cry;
You are Sir Brian, as bold as a lion -
Sir Brian, the lion, good-bye!"


Sir Brian struggled home again, and chopped up his battleaxe,
Sir Brian took his fighting boots, and threw them in the fire.
He is quite a different person now he hasn't got his spurs on,
And he goes about the village as B. Botany, Esquire.

"I am Sir Brian? Oh, no!
I am Sir Brian? Who's he?
I haven't got any title, I'm Botany -
Plain Mr Botany (B)."



Friday, November 08, 2002
 
WORKS DISPUTE

Nicolai Panke, a German working for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza, was kidnapped yesterday by four armed Palestinians outside the Red Cross office in Khan Younis.

Panke was subsequently released in the evening without any real explanation. The BBC states that "Palestinian security sources identified at least some of the gunmen as disgruntled former policemen", while the Jerusalem Pest reports "PA security officials said the kidnappers were former police officers who had been fired and wanted to use their hostage to get their jobs back. About two months ago, the same group abducted three Italians who were in the Gaza Strip to express solidarity with the Palestinians, the security officials said. The Italians were also released unharmed."

Since when has kidnapping been the normal response to works disputes? Whatever happened to suing for unfair dismissal? Maybe next time I'm annoyed at my employers I'll kidnap a few Red Cross workers and see what reaction I get.




Thursday, November 07, 2002
 
ARAFAT: NOBODY CAN EXILE ME!

Today’s Al-Ayyam reports an emotional meeting between Arafat and the Latin Patriarch yesterday. According to the report, in response to questions about Netanyahu’s call to be rid of Arafat, he proclaimed:

“Nobody can exile me from my homeland – and they should remember that I am President Arafat!”.


I think it is Arafat who needs his memory refreshed.

(a) He was born in Egypt.
(b) In 1957 he was expelled from Egypt by President Nasser because of his involvement in the Moslem Brotherhood.
(c) He was driven out of the West Bank by Israel.
(d) He was driven out of Jordan by Hussein.
(e) He was driven out of Lebanon by Israel.
(f) He was driven out of Syria by Assad.
(g) At the moment, he remains the un-elected President of the Muqata’a.


Of course, this is not the first time that Arafat has made such statements that imply that he suffers from delusions of grandeur. Remember when he screamed at that respected American TV journalist (her name, please, to Ribbityfrog@netscape.net) “You should be speaking more carefully when you are addressing General Arafat!!!” What is incredible is that the European Community continue to treat this man, who looks, dresses and acts like a third-world dictator, with any credibility whatsoever.

*Seth Thaler adds: Ribbity: Arafat has made those outlandish boasts on many occasions but I believe you are thinking of Christiane Anampour of CNN (who is a Christian born in Iran, by the way). One memorable and lengthy psychotic display was on the ABC Nightline with Ted Koppel, the transcript of which is at: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/nightline/DailyNews/arafat_transcript020501.html.


Thanks for the reference. I have since remembered that Arafat also told her to "shut up!".



Wednesday, November 06, 2002
 
PALESTINIAN REACTION

It didn't take long for the predictable Palestinian reaction to appear. Today's Al-Ayyam reports Nabil abu Rudeina as saying "This is a clear indication of the failure of this aggressive government's policies [or of this government's aggressive policies] in achieving security, stability and peace in the region".

Abu-Rudeina, of course, hasn't had to face electins since 1996, and those elections were fixed, so he's a fine one to tell us about failed governments and the democratic process. You will notice what a great job Arafat's leadership has done in bringing about security, stability and peace in the region, and how popular his government has been of late.

When Sharon wins the election with a huge majority (which I suspect he will) then Abu Rudeina and his friends will have to think again.


MORE FROM THE BEEB

This morning's classic line from the BBC:

Labor is still suffering because of the failure of its last government to clinch a peace deal with the Palestinians.


No, Labor (since when do the British spell the word that way?) is still suffering because it's last prime-minister caved in to Palestinian aggression, tried to negotiate the final borders of Israel after he had resigned, didn't keep a single one of the election promises with the exception of withdrawing from Lebanon (and that game is not over yet) and because it arrogantly continues to claim that the Oslo process was a well-considered move.





Tuesday, November 05, 2002
 
ISRAELI POLITICS ACCORDING TO THE BBC

You’ve got to hand it to the BBC. Even reasonably balanced reporters have a very skewed and short-sighted view of the Israeli political map and Israeli political realities.

In a moderate sounding article, that avoids the usual sloganizing, Martin Asser gives us the following classics:

Mr Sharon had been determined to stay in power at the head of a narrow rightwing government, but he would have been left at the head of an inherently unstable ruling coalition whose small Knesset majority could easily have been erased if Mr Sharon fell foul of the hardline religious right


Why would Sharon’s right-wing government be “inherently unstable”? All coalitions are inherently unstable, as the break-up of the unity government proved. Nobody really believes that the settlements were the real issue – it was clearly the Labour primaries that led to the fall of the Sharon’s government.

The term “religious right” is equally misleading. Avigdor Lieberman is not religious but is certainly “right”. Memad is religious and is “left”. Is the “hardline religious right” harder than Lieberman?

Meanwhile, the departure of the Labor ministers robbed him of the veneer of inclusivity and moderation which he enjoyed with figures such as peace process architect Shimon Peres in his team.


The term “veneer” implies that Peres’ involvement in the Sharon government was only a façade. In fact, as respected Israeli commentator Zeev Schiff has shown, Peres and Ben Eliezer were active partners in the decision making process, and sometimes their opinions were adopted against Sharon’s initial inclination.
A change of leadership, or a new mandate for Mr Ben-Eliezer, may or may not significantly improve Labor chances of wresting power from the right.
But many in the Labor Party will be glad that one of the least distinguished periods in its history - half-in, half-out of one of Israel's most hardline governments - has come to an end.


The opinion polls are showing that the chances Ben Eliezer wresting power from the right are miniscule – and a far-left candidate such as Mitznah or Ramon, while offering a viable alternative to the left-wing voter who would have voted for Labour anyway, is likely to lose the Labour party its middle-ground support.

Nor can it be said that coalition with Sharon is “one of the least distinguished periods” in the Labour party’s history. The climate of political corruption that led to Begin’s rise to power in 1977 was also a disasterous period Labour; Labour joined a coalition with the far-right leader Shamir, who was a less accomplished politician than Sharon; and the short-lived Barak government brought the Labour party to an unprecedented level of unpopularity.

Asser concludes:

At least the party will now be able to devote itself to the business of opposition - whose absence in recent months has rendered Israel's politics, in the words of one commentator recently, "populist, parochial and one-dimensional".


For “populist” read “popular” – this government enjoyed a very high level of public support; for “parochial” read “protective”, in that the government pursued the role for which it had been elected, namely to protect its citizens from unprecedented levels of terrorist violence; for “one-dimensional” read “consensus-based”, in that the government pursued the policies of majority and not the marginal fringes.

For all these reasons, the Labour party needed to be in the coalition. They didn’t join out of strength; they joined because following the shameful fall of Barak’s unethical government (don’t forget what happened after his resignation) the Labour party was in total disarray. It was entirely to Sharon’s credit that he realized that the public interest demanded a stable centrist government. Had he called general elections immediately after his election, the right wing parties would have swept the board and Labour was have been destroyed. Sharon rebuilt the Labour party by bringing them into the government.

It’s a hard fact to swallow for Western journalists who still idealize the Israeli left. But the fact it that the Israeli Labour party, with its messianic solution of the Oslo Process, failed to bring about Israel’s salvation no less than Gush Emmunim.


 
GOING TO THE POLLS

Well, it now seems that we're going to have elections on 4th February. Netanyahu just appeared on the TV announcing that he is going to run for leadership of the Likud.



 
THE MORNING AFTER

My feelings this morning are the usual mixture and anger, frustration and determination.

ANGER

Al-Ayyam reports at length about the car that exploded yesterday in Nablus. The opening line tells all:

Residents spend more than two hours yesterday gathering body parts of two martyrs in the latest assassination operation carried out by the occupation forces in the town of Nablus yesterday.


The article goes on to describe how their body parts became entangled with the metal parts of the car (these articles always include very gory details), and, of course, other crimes by the occupation forces, such as the destruction of metal workshop and the shop of a medicine importer. Naturally, the occupation forces prevented ambulances from reaching the scene of the crime.

Don’t be surprised if you hear soon about the Nablus War Crimes Commission; after all, the official Palestinian version has now been published, and it’s pretty bad. Remarkably, it reflects all the charges made by Amnesty about Jenin.

No mention of yesterday’s bombing in Kfar Sava, though.

FRUSTRATION

The BBC reports this morning on Sharon’s survival, pointing out that

Opposition parties failed to muster enough support from Knesset (parliament) members after the ultra-nationalist National Union-Yisrael Beitenu Party abstained from voting.


I don’t notice any mention of the fact that the no-confidence motions were supported by the ultra-nationalist Arab parties, or that what Shas left Rabin’s government it only survived through their support.

Later in the article, we read:

The Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has warned that the two-year-old Palestinian intifada (uprising) could worsen if the Israeli Government becomes more right-wing.

How exactly is it going to worsen? Things might worsen for Arafat himself, because the government might decide to bump him off, but considering the security forces here are speaking of dozens of attempts to carry out terrorist attacks, and that Arafat himself launched this war through his decision of 28th September 2000, it’s hard to understand exactly what he’s threatening.

DETERMINATION

This is a war of attrition, and it has already been won by Israel. The Palestinians launched an offensive after Camp David and thought that they would destroy Israeli society. They have caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent people, including many of their own, but they have totally failed in their objectives. They have lost American support (and it’s really America that calls the shots these days, in spite of what the BBC may think), their cities lie in ruins, they are suffering from massive poverty, and have not achieved anything that they could not have achieved by a negotiated settlement.

It’s time for the Palestinian leaders to stop reading Ha’aretz and listen to the voice of the people. If they took an Israeli taxi for spoke to the average person in the street, they would find out that Israel is a lot stronger than they think – not militarily, but in terms of morale. The Passover Massacre was a turning point, and Defensive Shield proved that Israel will fight back. We will suffer the calumnies of the UN to protect ourselves and our homes. There is nothing that you can do that will stop us.




Monday, November 04, 2002
 
HOSTAGE CRISIS

In case there was any doubt as to whether the Chechnia Hostage Crisis was the act of Islamic fundamentalists, look carefully at the video now being broadcast on the world media. You will notice that after they forced the actors off the stage, the terrorists hung a large sign in Arabic on the curtain. For those readers whose Arabic is rusty, the large letters in the middle of sign read Allahu Akbar - Allah is the Greatest.




 
UPDATE

Mofaz has just been sworn in as Defense Minister. He had to be sworn in twice, because the first time Ahmed Tibbi, Minister to Israel's Enemies in the Knesset, interrupted the ceremony.

One person dead in the bombing. Another person whose life has been taken by these murderers, another family whose lives have been ruined. The bomb apparently included nails and shrapnel in order to increase the scope of the injuries.





 
TERRORIST ATTACK
Two minutes after I posted my last entry, I turned on the television and saw the latest reports - around 10 injured in a terrorist bombing in Kfar Saba. 1 seriously injured person, children amongst the injured. Kfar Saba is very close to the Palestinian town Kalkilia, and has suffered many attacks in recent years.



 
TALKS

A short but very informative article appears in today’s Al-Ayyam, the official mouthpiece of the PNA in Ramallah.

Jericho – AFP - The Internal Minister, Hani al-Hasan announced that the Palestinian Authority would conduct talks this week with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Cairo.

Al-Hasan clarified to journalists that these journalists, that aim to settle the differences between the two sides, are supposed to take place on Wednesday.

He added: “There are many issues that need to be settled between the Hamas and the Palestinian Authoirity”, without mentioning any details.


What exactly are they going to talk about? In case it may have slipped your memory, Hamas is a cruel and brutal fundamentalist organization that has been responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks against civilians that Israel has known. It regularly calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of Israeli citizens.

Now if I recall correctly, the PNA signed on the Washington Accords of September 28 1995. Annex I article II of those accords reads:

Security Policy for the Prevention of Terrorism and Violence

1. The Palestinian security policy as defined by the Palestinian Authority
on March 9, 1995, for the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area will also be
implemented in the rest of the West Bank in areas which come under
Palestinian security responsibility as follows:

a. The Palestinian Police is the only Palestinian security authority.

b. The Palestinian Police will act systematically against all expressions of
violence and terror.

c. The Council will issue permits in order to legalize the possession and
carrying of arms by civilians. Any illegal arms will be confiscated by the
Palestinian Police.

d. The Palestinian Police will arrest and prosecute individuals who are
suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror.


Since Arafat is such a fine law-abiding leader who is interested in persuing the peace process (so the European Union has declared), the PNA must be meeting with the Hamas in order to arrest and prosecute them. I can only assume that this announcement in the press is part of the PNA’s new policy of transparency.

I am also delighted to see that Egypt is doing its part to further peaceful cooperation between the signatories of the Oslo Agreement.


Sunday, November 03, 2002
 
PERES: SETTLEMENTS BROUGHT DOWN COALITION

reports the Jerusalem Pest this morning.

Come on - who's he trying to convince? Sa'eb Erekat, with whom he was lunching that day? Did he ask Erekat why he constantly lies to the Western press, and why he invented the Jenin Massacre?